We now turn to the final two regions to get the last two teams in the Final Four of the WCB tournament. Here are the previous results:
the opening round results
the first round results from the Tampa/New Orleans regions
the first round results from the Los Angeles/Houston regions.
the second round results from the Tampa/New Orleans regions
the second round results from the Los Angeles/Houston regions
the regional semis and finals from the Tampa/New Orleans regions
LOS ANGELES REGION
#1 1968 Baltimore Colts vs. #13 1991 Buffalo Bills
The game was a close contest for a quarter and a half. Then, Jerry Logan intercepted a Jim Kelly pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown, to make the score 17-10 in favor of Baltimore. The Colts would never look back. Kelly threw five interceptions (to five different defenders) on the day, and the Baltimore defense held Buffalo to 2 for 12 on third down.
Baltimore 40, Buffalo 17
#2 1992 San Francisco 49ers vs. #6 1967 Oakland Raiders
The first game between these two ended in a flat-footed tie after neither team scored in overtime, so much like old time World Cup Soccer, we just had a replay. In the second game, the 49ers dominated the offensive statistics, but to no avail. Oakland got an opening kickoff return for touchdown to start the game, and then frustrated San Fransisco all day. George Blanda made all three of his field goal attempts, while Mike Cofer missed both of his. The Raiders put the game away with a Clem Daniels touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
Oakland 22, San Fransisco 7
#1 2001 Saint Louis Rams vs. #5 1987 San Francisco 49ers
The Niners get off to a great start, holding Saint Louis to punts in the first quarter, then going to the goal line before getting stuffed inches short on fourth down. The goal line attempt pays off, though, as the Niners sack Warner in the end zone for a safety, then take the next possession and add a touchdown for a 9-0 lead. The Rams continue to struggle offensively, but manage two second quarter field goals by Jeff Wilkins to go to the half at 9-6. In the third quarter, the Rams block a Niners punt to put themselves in good position, but Warner throws an interception two plays later, which results in a Rice touchdown and a decisive 16-6 lead at the end of the third. Well, except that it's the Rams, and the offense finally scored a touchdown to start the quarter with Faulk catching a Warner pass. The Rams still trail 16-13, though, but get near field goal range at the two minute warning. Faulk then breaks a touchdown run to give the Rams a four point lead. The Niners march all the way down the field, getting to the 11 for one final play, but it is intercepted as time expires.
Saint Louis 20, San Fransisco 16
#3 1970 Minnesota Vikings vs. #10 1973 Los Angeles Rams
The Rams went on a 71 yard drive in the first quarter, converting two key third down conversions, and took a 7-0 lead. They had 36 total yards the rest of the game, as the Vikings' defense held McCutcheon and Bertelsen to 21 yards on 20 carries. The Vikings dominated the game from that point on, but couldn't get into the end zone, settling for field goals in the second and third quarter, so the Rams still held the 7-6 lead with one quarter left despite doing nothing offensively. The Vikings finally broke through with a Clint Jones touchdown run in the fourth to take the lead. The Rams gain no first downs after that score, and Minnesota holds on.
Minnesota 15, Los Angeles 7
LOS ANGELES REGION
#1 1968 Baltimore Colts vs. #6 1967 Oakland Raiders
This regional final featured the teams that lost Super Bowls II and III, in an AFL versus NFL battle. Defense ended up dominating this game. The Colts and Raiders both got an early field goal, and then there was no scoring until Blanda hit a 54 yard field goal at the halftime gun to give the Raiders a 6-3 lead. The Raiders got the ball first to start the second half, but Lamonica threw an interception that the Colts immediately turned into a Mackey score to take the lead. Lou Michaels then missed two field goals that could have extended the lead, while Blanda hit a third to make it 10-9 entering the fourth. The Colts then went on a key 7-play, 85-yard drive in the early fourth to take a 17-9 lead. In what has to be one of the most questionable coaching decisions of the tournament, John Rauch elects to kick a field goal with 3 minutes left and 4th and 4 at the Baltimore 10. The Raiders did hold the Colts on the ensuing kickoff, but failed to pick up a first down and gave the ball back to Baltimore, who added a late field goal.
Baltimore 20, Oakland 12
#1 2001 Saint Louis Rams vs. #3 1970 Minnesota Vikings
In what has to be the most interesting stylistic matchup this deep in the tournament, the offensive-minded Rams meet one of the most dominant defenses of all-time. Will the fact that this game is played on the turf help the Greatest Show, or will the Purple People Eaters gobble up Warner and company?
While the Minnesota Defense versus Saint Louis Offense got all the pre-game hype, the Minnesota offense took the opening kickoff and went on an efficient drive capped by a clutch third down touchdown catch by Gene Washington. The Rams offense responded with a good drive, moving the ball to first and goal from the 2. The Vikings defense made a stand, though, holding Faulk out of the end zone on three tries as the Rams' fourth down attempt came up short. The Vikings added a Cox field goal in the second quarter. The Rams were frustrated again after a nice drive, when Az-Zahir Hakim fumbled while trying to stretch for a first down at the Minnesota 17. The Rams got to the Minnesota 35 again right before the half, but Warner was intercepted by Wally Hilgenberg, so Saint Louis was shut out despite three scoring opportunities.
Playing with the lead, the Vikings could go to a heavy dose of Dave Osborn, and he carried the ball three times for 48 yards on the Vikings' first possession, scoring the key touchdown to make it 17-0. From that point on, the Vikings D harrassed Warner and intercepted him once, as Minnesota shuts out the Rams.
Minnesota 20, Saint Louis 0
The Final Four is now set:
1997 Green Bay Packers versus 1967 Los Angeles Rams
1968 Baltimore Colts versus 1970 Minnesota Vikings
In the Final Four installment, I will do a quick blurb on some aspect of each of those four teams, maybe finding an interesting story, or event from the archives, as well as having the final games.